Promoting regional events

Nundle Country Picnic DL flyer

Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival

Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival

Great Nundle Dog Race

Nundle Tamworth Country Music Festival Program

Our town of Nundle, in New England North West NSW, is coming into its peak event season, autumn. We have three major events within three months, Nundle Country Picnic on Sunday, March 11, Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival on Saturday March 31 and Sunday April 1, and the Great Nundle Dog Race on Sunday, May 6. Mount Misery Gold Mine Cafe and Guesthouse owner, Megan Carberry is holding a Nundle Scrapbooking Retreat on Friday, March 9 to Sunday, March 11 and asked me for advice on promoting her event. I thought this might be an opportunity to share ideas with a wider audience.

While Nundle has a population of 300, we host more than 35,000 visitors annually thanks to the natural beauty of our rural landscape, charming village, and eight annual events. In addition to those already listed we have Hats Off to Country & Christmas in July, The Dag Sheep Station, July 14-15, Annual Outdoor Quilt Airing, Cottage on the Hill, October 13, Nundle CWA Art Show, November 9-11 and Nundle Rocks and Country at The DAG during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, January 18-27, 2019.    

I am not involved in promoting all the events, but I do help promote a few of them, something I have been doing since moving to Nundle 19 years ago. My experience in journalism and public relations definitely helps, having promoted NSW Department of Primary Industriy's Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, and event Agview that attracted 35,000 people at Camden, working as a Cox Inall Communications account director for agribusinesses Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, QBE Insurance, and Elders, and part of the communications team for The Cancer Council NSW. For the past eight years I have been part of the Nundle Business Tourism and Marketing Group Inc that has 27 members who work co-operatively to promote our town.

Reflecting on the elements that make up an event marketing communications strategy, there are similarities for many of the events I am involved with. You may be able to use some of these ideas in promoting your event, or tweak them to suit depending on your target audience. Thanks to Tamworth Regional Council Marketing and Tourism Officer, Eleanor Turnbull for reading and adding to my list.

12 months out - or ASAP

Contact your local government or tourism group to see if your event might be eligible for any funding or grants they might offer (ie. Destination Tamworth Regional Events Marketing Support Program).

- Write a marketing communications strategy identifying your goals, target market, themes and messaging, budget, tasks and channels for communicating with your target audience, and methods for measuring and evaluating your campaign.

- Be realistic when identifying your target market. There's no point attempting to promote your event to capital city-based media five hours away, when it's more likely your audience will come from within your own or neighbouring regions within a one to three hour radius. Regional media will be more affordable and provide bang for your buck. For example, marketing to major population centres of Newcastle, Port Macquarie, and Coffs Harbour has proved more successful for some of our events, than marketing to Sydney. Your marketing is also dependent on the size of your event. Marketing for an event with 170 tickets, like our Nundle Country Picnic, is a lot smaller scale than an event attracting 16,000 people, such as Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival.

- Create or update a website for your event. Our community established its own website working with marketing consultant Greg Alder, website designer Luke Farrugua, Farbox Creative, and graphic designer Dan Phelan, Safety Pin Design. We developed a Nundle brand using Nundle textures, colours, tastes, smells, and sounds. All of our community events have pages on this website.

- Create or update your event listing on your State tourism organisation website using the Australian Tourism Database Warehouse that feeds information to 20+ websites and has an informative Tourism E-Kit. Contact your local government tourism organisation (ours is Destination Tamworth) that may promote your event on their website or electronic direct marketing.

- Nominate a social media handle and hashtag for your event and use them consistently across all platforms. This may be more generic such as @NundleNSW #NundleNSW or event specific, #TasteTamworth #TCMF2018. Research popular hashtags related to your event (such as #musicfestival #food #nature #Easter) and include them is social media posts.

- Establish or update social media accounts for your event. I create Facebook pages for specific events, in addition to a generic @nundlensw Facebook and Instagram account. Make sure you include as much detail as possible including prices, contact details, running times, what the event actually entails etc.

- Share your Facebook event page on relevant pages and in relevant groups online.

- Make sure you reply to queries on your social media channels.

- If possible establish permanent year-round roadside event signage on your nearest highway or major road.

Six months out

- Attend event committee meetings to stay informed of event organisation and identify potential stories.

- Post monthly to social media accounts, building awareness and anticipation for your event. Make sure you always post with either a photo, video or link. These get the most traction, and can help to build your audience.

Three months out

- Seek quotes for advertising, print, television, radio, digital.

- Draft advertising copy, create photo library, and seek a graphic designer to prepare collateral (flyer,  e-flyer, poster). Include your website and nominated social media handle and hashtag in all advertising.

- Seek quotes for printing.

- Upload digital files of flyers/poster to website and social media accounts.

- Keep in mind that magazines usually work up to three months ahead of publishing, so make contact early for consideration for events calendars or to book advertising.

Two months out

- Print marketing collateral (flyer, poster).

- Book advertising.

- Draft media release and media distribution list (don’t forget community publications, local newsletters etc).

- Update/create temporary signage for outdoor display on fences or indoor display in council or sponsor buildings.

- Book a professional photographer to document your event for post event media coverage and future marketing.

One month out

- Identify event spokesperson.

- Identify photo opportunities.

- Distribute media release (Destination Tamworth kindly distributes our media releases).

- Supply artwork for booked advertising.

- Distribute flyers, posters. Think of the places your audience might visit. Make sure you take some into your local and surrounding Visitor Information Centres and Offices, as this is often the first stop for visitors passing through. Also take them around to relevant businesses, and ask them to display them. Ie. For a craft weekend, take them into craft shops etc; for live music, take them into pubs etc.

- Post weekly to social media accounts, building awareness and anticipation for your event.

- Display temporary reusable outdoor and indoor signage in prominent positions in your town and nearby towns.

- Confirm and brief professional photographer.

- If your event is running regularly, consider collecting contact details (email is the easiest for this) for a database, so that you can market to them directly for future events, and keep them updated on what you’re doing.

- Plan evaluating your marketing campaign by writing and organising volunteers to survey the crowd about where they are from, how they found out about your event, what they liked, room for improvement.

One week out

- Follow up/respond to media requests for photo opportunities and interviews.

- Post once to twice daily to social media accounts, building awareness and anticipation for your event.

- Upload finalised program to website and social media.

During event

- Post multiple photos and video to social media accounts encouraging people to attend.

- Follow up/respond to media requests for photo opportunities and interviews.

- Check in with and communicate with professional photographer.

- Use volunteers to survey the crowd to evaluate your marketing campaign.

Post event

- Post to social media accounts, thanking people for attending your event and informing them of how it went (crowd numbers, stall holder numbers, turnover, funds raised).

- Follow up/respond to media requests for photo opportunities and interviews.

- Record and collate media coverage to share on social media and for your post event report.

- Use surveys to analyse your marketing campaign and write your post-event report.

- Have a well earned rest and celebrate with your committee!

Megan Trousdale
Megan Trousdale


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